Tuesday, February 12, 2008


I had a most delightful lunch today with a student who will be visiting NWU next semester. S had come to talk to me last week (but just before my class) because one of her profs suggested talking to me, since she'll be at NWU. And she did! So we made an appointment to have lunch today, and we did.

I'm continually impressed by my students' English skills. It's not that they're perfect; it's that they're so willing to give it a go and seem so interested in improving. S, too!

So S and I had a nice conversation; we talked about the cold, and I tried to reassure her that she'd be fine with a warm jacket and such, and that she could get them in the Northwoods should she need to. And we talked about the river and places to go near campus, and living in dorms, and so forth. And she helped me understand a few things about living here, which were very helpful!

So, I thought I'd try having lunch once a week, or maybe twice a week at the student cafeteria with whatever students from my class can and want to come. I suggested it this afternoon in class, and several students looked enthusiastic. So I hope we'll all enjoy it!

Class seemed to go well today. I'm guessing it takes time and a half or longer for me to teach something to this class compared to my usual first year classes. Partly that works out because I'm consciously trying to give an extra example, and to make things clear from two directions if I can. (I should probably try that in my regular classes!) Partly it takes these students longer to write sentences in English to practice whatever we're working on.

For example, today we worked on Christensen's paragraph organization. I'd planned to do that. And my reading of their introductory journals this weekend reinforced how helpful it might be. It's got to be doubly hard to try to be organized when you're working in a second language. For me, for example, speaking my second language, I'm pretty much thinking of the sentence I'm trying to say at the moment. But in writing or speaking English, I tend to think in whole paragraphs sometimes, at least when I'm really aiming to get a point across. But since I can't do that in my second language (though I do "think" in that language when I'm hearing or speaking it), I'm sure my sentences are more disjointed than they are when I use English.

It took a bit longer for them to write their practice sentences and paragraphs.

Thinking about the journals they handed in last week, and comparing how relatively well-written those were, I'm guessing they put a TON of time into writing those. I'm impressed.

1 comment:

  1. Second language neurology stuff is soooo interesting...my mom worked in that for a while from the education side, and it was helpful to me later to hear how not to be fooled - someone who speaks nearly flawlessly often can hardly write (me!), etc.

    And those lunches sound like they might end up being one of those things that you really remember about the whole experience.